From Southport, with love…….. The Waterfront Arts Project, The Promenade Southport

Aside from the nostalgic sounds of arcades, the smell of sea air and the waft of fish and chips, The Southport Art groups create something of a gem that can be largely overlooked whilst on a day trip to the renowned seaside spot.

With submissions from far and wide, The Water front Arts Projects current exhibition…. ‘IMAGINE IF ……. ‘  explores  the idea of living, with a life limiting illness. This exhibition is due to close on the 8th of July so please get down and see it quickly.

Physically and mentally, the artist are able to show you what they experience in their day to day lives, to overcome/live with such burdens.

I will not talk of ‘expressing yourself’ art, as this is not what it is about. It is informative and exciting, and asks people to question their own prejudices against people who have illnesses and disabilities. It celebrates human strengths, it touches your heart.

Artist Mike Ross creates a body of work called ‘Appearances can be deceiving’. Photographic portraits of people who suffer from a range of different illnesses, (from MS, ME, depression, epilepsy, heart disease, OCD, and cancer.  ALL of which look completely fine and healthy on the outside, the message is clear and simple. It is acceptable in our society to walk past another human being and judge them directly on their appearance. And this is wrong.

Phyllis Lim has a variety of work, but I particularly fell in love with ‘in his shoes’. A full figure portrait of a gentleman, who is suffering from dementia, he stands there naked with his hat on a clear symbolic piece of work.

Chris Oliver has presented an informative piece of work, about the studies of Alzheimer’s, and how experiments have shown that fasting allows the brain cells to rejuvenate, due to the detoxifying of the body. Alongside this, he also created a painting based on the colours and textures of the brain in the news paper article. He creates the jelly-like substance of the brain with the paint, showing how delicate the main muscle in our bodies can be.

Michael Bond also has a variety of work on display. However the piece to catch my attention was not the large paintings, but the small photomontage stills of him falling and rebounding back up again. Depicting how he relies on his medication everyday to keep him standing upright.

There is so much to see here, and it is impossible for me to write about every piece of work and every artist. The variety of work is great, amazing sculptures by Maria Larson, Tommy McHugh (who had a brain haemorrhage and then became an artist after recovering). Tommy has created so many sculptures and works of enticement such as ‘head in a box’ where you look thru a tiny hole and see reflections of glass heads that go on for infinity.

There is a piece of work here for everybody. The space is filled with the amazing perspectives and different skills of the artists. And the great thing about this space? A lot of the artists are always around for a chat!! So if you have any questions somebody will be there to chat to you.

Joanne Mcclellan